Unison ranks among the few unified communications companies that has embraced Ubuntu -- Canonical's fast-growing Linux distribution. In its latest attack against Microsoft, Unison is now launching a "free, sponsor-supported unified communications platform."
Huh? Does that mean users will need to listen to commercials between phone calls? Actually, The VAR Guy has to concede: He's not sure how the "free" offer works. Travel delays have prevented our resident blogger from speaking with Unison directly.
But here's what The VAR Guy has heard so far:
- The new, sponsor-supported version of Unison can save a small business $100,000 versus a Microsoft solution, according to a Unison spokesman.
- Any organization can download the Linux and Windows-based software at www.unison.com, then deploy it without needing to buy licenses.
- Unison runs on-premise, on a Linux server behind the firewall, in contrast to “SaaS-only” hosted solutions like Google Apps
- Unison CEO Michael Choupak claims the solution offers the combined power of applications like Microsoft Exchange and a Cisco PBX. Hmmm. That's another lofty claim. Unison, it seems, would prefer to rattle two IT giants for the price of one.
- The first Unison sponsors are Canonical and Intermedia, the New York-based hosted business applications provider.
- Unison combines e-mail, telephone, instant messaging, calendars and contacts into a single system, the company claims.
Still, Unison is declaring war against the unified communications establishment. The VAR Guy will be watching to see if solutions providers join the cause.
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